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Lion Links: 3/11/19

W-League barrier, fans punching players, FIFA is corrupt, and more!

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W-League Rd 7 - Perth v Newcastle Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! One week a draw feels like a win, the next it feels like a loss. Thus are the ups and downs of professional soccer. Still, Orlando City is two games in without a loss and sitting in fifth place. Things could be much worse. Let’s get to the links!

W-League Closes Borders

As Orlando Pride fans are well aware, many National Women’s Soccer League players head to Australia during the off-season to ply their trade down under. It’s worked out well for the players, allowing them to earn more money, and keep playing year round. Effective immediately, overseas footballers would need to sign contracts worth a minimum of $120,000 per year to get a work visa. This is not a soccer-specific policy, rather a federal immigration work policy. While it might mean more opportunity for local players, it could greatly affect the quality of players that are able to play in the W-League next year. It would also have ramifications in the men’s A-League and on the lower level leagues in Australia as well.

Soccer Players Attacked

Evidently there was something about this weekend that made fans a bit punchy. Literally. During Aston Villa’s match at Birmingham, a Birmingham supporter rushed the field and hit Villa’s Jack Grealish from behind. Fortunately, Grealish was not seriously injured, and even went on to score the winning goal for Villa.

(Jump to the 0:10 mark for the punch, 1:05 mark for the goal)

Not to be outdone, an Arsenal supporter also ran onto the pitch and punched Manchester United’s Chris Smalling. The pitch invader was apprehended and arrested by the Metropolitan Police. Arsenal has banned the supporter and issued an apology to both United and Smalling.

FIFA is Corrupt?

If you hadn’t heard, the 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar. Summers in Qatar can easily reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As you probably are aware, that’s not great weather for playing soccer outdoors. Back in January of last year, allegations were raised that state run broadcaster Al-Jezeera had offered a $100 million television deal to FIFA only weeks before the vote.

The allegations originally appeared in Whatever It Takes – the Inside Story of the Fifa Way, a book by Bonita Mersiades, an insider to Australia’s failed 2022 bid. Now Australia’s Sunday Times is reporting that it has seen documents detailing an additional $480 million in what amounts to a bribe. The only thing surprising is that anyone is surprised that FIFA took millions to host the World Cup in a place it shouldn’t be hosted.

English Premier League Recap

It didn’t look good for Liverpool when Burnley scored off a corner kick only six minutes into the match. Despite the fact that the goal put Burnley in front, Alisson Becker was fouled on the play, and it woke up the giant that is Liverpool. The Reds went on to defeat Burnley, 4-2, to stay within a point of first-place Manchester City. Liverpool has the opportunity to reach the top of the table next week, as City doesn’t have a Premier League match. Elsewhere, Manchester United lost its first domestic match since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the helm, falling 2-0 to Arsenal. Of course, there were plenty of other matches played as well.

Free Kicks
  • Here’s a quick reminder of why you love Orlando City Stadium. After all, it’s not a postage stamp in New York.
  • Weird things can happen when you play soccer in the snow, but this is painful to watch
  • What do you think, is this simulation?

That’ll do it for today. Keep checking back for more info on Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, and the Orlando SeaWolves.